29 November, 2006

... And Even More Chrismons... (A Star is Born)

It was a simple folded paper star that grabbed my attention, a German folded paper star, to be exact. I’d seen them everywhere, but no one could tell me how to make them. The stars are prevalent in these parts of North Carolina, a cousin to the ‘pointier’ Moravian Star; they are omnipresent this time of year. I desperately wanted to learn the paper-folding technique but kept running into obstacles in my path to learning, I almost forgot about them; almost. Years passed and our family moved, and moved again. Ten years ago we celebrated Christmas in Geneva, Switzerland; our new home. The folded paper star once again appeared, this time it was red, but the nonetheless the same. It revealed itself on the Christmas tree in our church sanctuary that Advent season in 1996. Our Pastor arranged for me to meet the maker, an elderly German-speaking (only!–gulp-) lady agreed to show me. Hope was reignited; just as quickly to be dashed, she suddenly died following a stroke that same week. I sadly wondered then if I was ever to learn. We moved back to the U.S. years later and my mother alerted me, by phone, to the fact that a craft show on HGTV was doing Christmas ornament making demonstrations at that very moment. I turned on the television… there they were, again; MY stars! I hadn’t missed even a minute of the broadcast; I hit “instant record” on the VCR. Later that day, the prize in plain view; I placed the carefully cut paper strips on the table and rewound the tape. I followed the steps one by one, in order; and managed to create a misshapen, torn and crumbled paper wad. My next attempt was equally miserable. I didn’t understand why I couldn’t grasp this, it seemed simple enough! I watched again, only to become even more distraught, nothing even resembling a star was produced! Totally defeated, I placed the remaining strips in a drawer along with the VHS tape; out of sight.

My daughter was home for Thanksgiving that year, as we finished up the dishes together I confessed my frustration to her over my star-attempts. She was intrigued. We unearthed the tape and the strips. Immediately she, and my husband, not only caught on, but achieved precise pointed-star perfection. They each made another, to prove there was no such thing as beginner’s luck. I managed a few more of my pathetic star wanna-be’s. My daughter turned off the VCR. She was ready to show me how; I argued for the tape, professing that I was indeed a visual learner and needed to watch the instruction one more time. She smiled at me knowingly, with love. “No”, she patiently explained, “you are a kinesthetic learner; you need to hold it, to manipulate it, to learn.” I was stunned at this knowledge. She guided my hands through the steps until I, too, had achieved star perfection! Was she correct? Did she know me better than I knew myself, I knew that God did; but did my daughter? The star lay on the table; it reflected the truth of her statement.

Since that day she and I have taught countless children, and adults, to fold German paper stars. I hope they have taught others, too. We all learn differently, I know that now. I have also come to know the value of a simple folded paper star; for me it represents hope, disappointment, trust and perseverance. It symbolizes my loving relationship with my daughter and reminds me, again, how we all become the face of God to one other. All this from a strip of paper?

You betcha!

Life is Good!

7 comments:

quiltkeemosabe said...

I inherited my grandmother's Christmas ornaments and among them were folded paper stars in various pastel colors, coated in parafin and sprinkled with glitter. I wanted to know how to make them so I even "sacrificed" one of them to see how they were made but with no luck. I finally connected with a lady in Richmond, IN who showed me how to make them. Later I found written instructions in a craft magazine which I have saved and shared many times. You should have called me!!!! Just teasing. Part of the fun is in the hunt!

Ancestor Collector said...

Do you remember when you taught me to make these stars? It was 1999 and you were a wonderful teacher. I have such fond memories of that holiday season. You were "so close"...only two hours away! Those Chrismons always hang on my little tree in the dining room and when I place them on the branches, I always think of you!

Laurie Ann said...

SIGH, I wish you lived close enough to show me how to make them. They are delightful! And what a great story they come with.

Kyle said...

*ahem* Have you forgotten ME teaching you how to make them when I was in either late elementary school or middle school? I specifically remember making them with you after learning how to make them at school....

Mrs. Goodneedle said...

Kyle, I honestly do not remember that; but I know that you've said that before. I suppose it's possible that you showed me at one time, I forgot about it, and then when I was ready to learn you no longer remembered how to make them in order to teach me? I can't explain it any other way.

Kyle said...

I suppose that could be the case. I think you still have some of these "originals"... One of which was tiny, and I think it is with the tree ornaments...

Shelina said...

I remember making these in high school! I made several because one of my school friends taught me. And I have so wanted to learn how to make them again!